Vashon Island sits in the Puget Sound just outside Seattle. Moved here on Valentine’s Day, needed to get out of the city, for reasons of cost and complications. I have loved it here for years, reminds me of my New England home. My two youngest sons, both teenagers, join me every other week, commuting by ferry from their father’s house in the city. One side of Vashon is bordered by Colvos Passage, deep water where the tidal currents flow almost constantly north. Kayaking down the West side of Vashon thru Colvos Passage, you may emerge into the light and glimpse the heavy body of Mt. Rainier, or Tahoma, meaning “mother of waters” in the Puyallup tribal language. Rising from sea level to more than 14,000 feet, on clear days her snowy peak- so high- is visible from most of the city.
I am fascinated by deep water, places where anything can happen, places where we as a species are still unsure of what we might find. Once sitting on a flight I remember the flight map show that we were passing the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of this world’s oceans. Located in the western Pacific Ocean, the trench reaches a maximum-known depth of about 40 miles at the Challenger Deep, a small slot-shaped valley in its floor, at its southern end. It is widely accepted that microbial lifeforms can exist at the trenches deepest levels, and descents – both manned and unmanned- have been made. I am impressed by the way life pushes up all over the place, iconic imagery of weeds forcing through the sidewalk, leopards in the snow, these hungry cells beneath ocean.
Part of my reason for moving was wanting to meet each day freshly, to not fail to thrive economically, mentally, creatively. I’m grateful I found this place to come, that my work allows for a longer commute, that my boys are able to make the journey alone, that things have fallen into place somehow, the way they always seem to, that my hope that this blue world was designed for thriving, that you have to find a way. The other night I was invited to a new friend’s gathering in a home with fields leading down to the passage, the sun setting, a reference to the Shawshank Redemption, then the Mozart aria sung by our hostess and a guest, two horses racing across pasture to be closer to the music, the bright sun setting, the deep water.